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Recent Powerball winner raises questions about lotto jackpots and child support

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2013 | Family Law

From nurses and mechanics to doctors and schoolteachers, everyone has dreams about winning the big lottery payday. Mortgages, student loans and everyday expenses would be a thing of the past while dream homes, luxury cars and fabulous vacations would be the new reality. However, it’s important for people to realize that even in the off chance that they somehow manage to win some money in the lotto, they still cannot escape their court-ordered responsibilities, especially child support.

Consider the recent case of a New Jersey man, Pedro Q., who made headlines last weekend after he won $338 million in one of the largest Powerball jackpots ever. Earlier this week, state officials indicated that a routine debt check revealed that he owed $29,000 in back child support for his five children who range in age from five to 23.

Here, state officials indicated that the arrears will be deducted from his mega paycheck — roughly $152 million after taxes — along with nine percent annual interest that has been accruing since 2009.

Interestingly, legal experts have indicated that the amount of back child support owed by Pedro Q. won’t increase, and that if any of the children were to file a claim for back child support (via their mother), it wouldn’t necessarily result in a significant amount of money.

The reason?

Simply put, none of the children have grown up in the lap of luxury.

“It depends on the lifestyle of the kids — if they’ve grown up going to equestrian camps and insanely expensive private schools and summer camps, then the courts will go big and give them awards that allow them to keep that quality of life,” said one legal expert.

However, it may be a different story concerning future payments. Legal experts indicate that many family courts typically utilize a formula in which they designate roughly 20 percent of half of a parent’s annual income (up to $300,000) for child support.

In Pedro Q.’s case, they indicate that a court would likely just take the 20 percent off the cap of $300,000, meaning he could potentially be on the hook for $60,000 a year for each child.

Remember, if you have questions about child support, divorce or other complex family law issues, be certain to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.

Source: The New York Daily News, “Powerball winner’s riches will be cut down by $29,000 in past-due child support, and thousands more per year could be claimed,” Vera Chase and Ginger Adams Otis, March 28, 2013